I first saw you live in 2004, in Liverpool, when you reunited. That was also our first interview. It’s been ten years since then.. was that a good decade and what has changed in your life?
Yes, it’s been a great decade! It was refreshing to return to The Wedding Present after a few years away and also very exciting to be invited to play in places we’d never visited previously… countries like Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Latvia and, of course, Greece where we first played in 2005. We also travelled to record. We recorded ‘Take Fountain’ with Steve Fisk in Seattle and the follow-up ‘El Rey’ with Steve Albini in Chicago and I’ve spent more and more time in Los Angeles, where we mixed our most recent album ‘Valentina’ with Andrew Scheps. But, aside from the tours and the albums, there’s been plenty of other stuff, too… I’ve started my own festival in Brighton, England called ‘At The Edge Of The Sea’ and my own biographical comic book called ‘Tales From The Wedding Present’. So you could say that I’ve been keeping pretty busy…
Since the release of your last album in 2012, has there been much work on new material?
There’s only two or three completely finished songs but what is most exciting is that there are lots of ideas bubbling around. Our ‘new’ guitarist, Patrick Alexander, joined the band a couple of years ago and brought lots of ideas for songs with him, so I’m really looking forward to getting to grips with those later this year.
Name me three things that you love about The Wedding Present and Cinerama.
With The Wedding Present I love… 1 - the simplicity - the fact that we’re influenced by punk and pop music… 2 - the basic but classic “rock ’n’ roll” line-up of drums, bass and guitars… and 3 - the sheer energy of the live performances.
But then one thing I love about doing Cinerama is that it’s totally different to The Wedding Present! But, also I adore the cinematic sound of strings and orchestral brass and messing around with weird keyboards and stuff. Thirdly, I suppose I like the fact that Cinerama is kind of ‘retro’ - so the whole concept of the band is quite nostalgic for me… it’s the soundtrack to my ‘growing up’, in a way.
You've written some of the most beautiful love songs. Do you believe that love makes the world go round?
Thank you! Yes, ha, ha… there’s no greater force than love! I remember a teacher at school telling us that everything we do in life is motivated by our desire to love and be loved and I think there’s a lot of truth in that…
Are there any albums (or even particular songs) that you don’t want to play live?
No. Well, I have my favourites, of course, but there isn’t anything I would never play live. There are some songs that I would probably not have personally chosen to play in concert but our drummer Charles Layton does the set lists and he often comes up with surprises. And I like a challenge!
What's your take on social networking? Do you like interacting with fans?
I do. I love interacting with fans on Twitter, for instance. It’s great to have that direct communication via my personal account @weddingpresent. My only problem with social networking is that there’s so much of it. If we kept up with everything on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, etc., I wouldn’t have time to write songs or make records.
What are you doing in LA right now?
It seems like the main thing I’ve done is escape some horrendous weather back in England. But I’ve also been working on a couple of long-term projects while I’ve been here. The first is a totally new version of “Valentina” re-arranged and re-recorded by Cinerama and the second is a new version of “George Best” which The Wedding Present recorded a few years ago with Steve Albini. They’re about as totally different projects as you could imagine, so that’s been interesting…
You mention on the newsletter that there'll be naked dancers during the Athens gig. Apart from that, what should we expect?
Performing poodles, magic tricks and free fish and chips for everybody.
The Wedding Present are playing Athens (Six Dogs) friday 14 march.